See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"Get your cape - we're leaving!"

The Heralds of the Gospel (shown) is an International Association of Pontifical Right, the first established by the Holy See in the third millennium, on the liturgical feast of the Chair of St. Peter, February 22nd, 2001.
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They do not take vows but live in community and pretty much live as religious. They were founded in Brazil by Father John Scognamiglio Clá Dias.
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Their habits are different, aren't they. Note the boots. My first impression was that they look a little theatrical.
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Thanks to David for the photo.
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Photo credit: Cardinal Sean's Blog.

"To what shall I compare this generation?" (Matt. 11:16)

I wasn't aware someone else had coined a term for it... Bobos: Bohemian bourgeois.
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I've been thinking along these lines - the new bourgeois, the new normal, what have you. Then I find the following from Joshua at Western Confucian which articulates many of my own thoughts on the subject. (Source material: New Oxford Review.)
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"Modern alienation is best visible among the current dominant generation whom popular journalist David Brooks defined as 'bohemian bourgeois,' or 'bobos,'" writes Christopher Beiting in a review of two of Prof. Lawler's books — Human Alienation & Our Biotech Future. Prof. Beiting continues:
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"Lawler generally supports Brooks's ideas, and notes that these people have many good traits: hard work, responsibility, opposition to cruelty, and so on, but a few fatal flaws stemming from the radically democratic culture in which they live. The bobos are atomized, radical individuals with few interests beyond their own comfort, and few social contacts beyond their narrow circles. They lack courage, civic duty, and compassion toward those who do not work as hard as they do. They are full of "spirituality," but hostile to religion -- particularly the notion that God might place any restrictions or restraints on their much-loved freedom and comfort. In particular, they are militantly "non-judgmental" on any moral actions (beyond some selected health-related ones -- smoking is a grievous fault, though sodomy is not), and deeply suspicious of people who are. The problem is that such behavior, with its roots in 1960s-era selfishness, shorn of its communitarian ideas, does seem to be able to produce social stability and economic prosperity. Yet the bobos are alienated and haunted by death, though they have lost the ability to admit it." - Western Confucian

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pittsburgh

It was very difficult to watch Detroit lose the Stanley Cup tonight. I can't even begin to tell you how painful it is. I even regret having watched the Final.
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But as a hockey fan, I have to congratulate the Penguins. The Stanley Cup is hard won, and the winning team deserves our utmost respect and congratulations. (Although I am convinced Fleury was replaced by a mutant impostor tonight in game 7. I hope there is an investigation.)

Corpus Christi Sunday



Archdiocesan Corpus Christi Procession


Sunday, June 14, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

Starting at: Little Sisters of the Poor

Ending at: Cathedral of St. Paul, St. Paul

Sponsored by Millennium Ministries, in cooperation with the Archdiocesan Office of Marriage, Family, and Life.
Cost: FREE (Freewill offerings accepted)


Join the Most Reverend Lee A. Piché (Bishop-elect), the Very Reverend Joseph R. Johnson, and Catholics from throughout the Archdiocese in showing your love for our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament at the Archdiocesan Corpus Christi Procession, which will begin in the gardens of the Little Sisters of the Poor Holy Family Residence (whose foundress will be canonized this October).


The procession will wind through beautiful Irvine Park, up Kellogg Boulevard and Summit Avenue, to the Cathedral, where we will conclude with a homily and Benediction.


An ice cream social on the Cathedral lawn will follow (sponsored by Stephen and Jenni’s Domestic Church).


Park-and-ride: Parking is very scarce near Little Sisters’.

Park in the Cathedral parking lot and use the free shuttles to Little Sisters. Shuttles will run continuously from 1:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. (please don’t arrive at the Cathedral before 1:15 p.m., in order to let the noon Mass-goers clear out the parking lot.)


There are also one-time early pick-ups at St. John the Baptist in New Brighton, St. Rose of Lima, and St. Columba (see more details at http://www.walkwithhim.net/). Walk with the Lord this summer!

For more information on this splendid act of devotion and witness, contact Greg Smisek, procession director, at gsmisek@usfamily.net or (651) 239-8574.

We The People Stimulus Package

This guy's video on youtube has been so popular that Obama called him personally. He said that he was very disturbed with the video and invited him to the White House. Obama also said he wanted the White House to handle the Press and not to talk about the video or the White House visit.

Prick to the conscience.

"...[M]en's stands are often dictated by envy or resentment. Most people find it difficult to "forgive" the person who has rightly and unwittingly upset their conscience. A person who has long been comfortably "married" to his numb conscience will find it hard, maybe humanly impossible, not to hate the one who has disturbed this comfortable slumber." - Source

All that Chaz.


Transgender - the "T" in LGBT.
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Chastity Bono has announced she has now chosen to be a man and will undergo sexual reassignment surgery.
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Celebrity daughter Chastity Bono is undergoing a sex change to become a man, her publicist announced Thursday.
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The gender-swap process began shortly after Bono's 40th birthday in March and more than a decade after she came out as a lesbian.
Read more.
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Okay. Most of us know that in truth she will always be a woman biologically, although after surgery and stuff, she will have the physical characteristics of a man. There is a diagnosis for what she has, GID, or Gender Identity Disorder. Believe me, I am not making fun of her. Obviously the woman has issues. She also has the money to pay for her transformation, and there are doctors willing to oblige.
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What does this mean to the gay community however? What does this say to radical feminists? My first reaction was the primeval, "See - lesbians really just want to be men." I know - that is a generalization and not very PC.
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When Chaz came out as a lesbian it was supposed to be the happiest experience of her life - at least gay activists promote the idea that coming out is very special, an emancipating experience, freeing one from self hate and all the other torments of the closet. So why wasn't Chaz happy coming out as a lesbian? Why does she want to be a man? Where is her gay pride? Did she hate herself as a woman even after coming out as a lesbian? Will life be better for her being a man rather than a woman? She will still have those female chromosomes - although she may look like a man, act like a man, talk like a man - she won't really be a man. Does she imagine - believe - she will be heterosexual after surgery and testosterone treatments? Do other lesbians feel betrayed? Has Chastity Bono now found "normal"?
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I'm just asking.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The original lie.

"'You will be like God, knowing good and evil', in other words, you yourselves will decide what is good and evil." - John Paul II: Memory and Identity
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Found on another blog: I was directed to an essay by Mark D. Jordan, a fantasy speculating upon the need for the Catholic Church to be converted and correct it's teaching on homosexuality. (Mark D. Jordan is a Guggenheim Fellowship Recipient and Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Religion at Emory University.)
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"Imagine this. Overnight, God changes the hearts of the majority of officials in the Vatican. They awake in the morning convinced that the Roman Catholic Church’s condemnations of “homosexual acts” are both untrue and unjust. They resolve to revoke them. What would they have to revise in church doctrine or practice in order to correct the teachings about gays and lesbians? To give this question any force, we have to picture the Holy Spirit bestowing courage as well as insight." - Source
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What the author ignores, or simply refuses to accept is this: "The Church can never change its position on the immorality of homosexual behavior and therefore will never apologize" or 'convert'. "Homosexual behavior is a moral issue, and the Church is infallible when it speaks authoritatively on matters of faith and morals.
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Homosexuality has been condemned in the Scripture, by constant tradition, and by the Church hierarchy, and constitutes the regular teaching of the Church’s Magisterium.
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Scripture condemns homosexuality in no uncertain terms in several places. Those who attack the Church’s position on this matter are taking issue with Scripture itself."* - Source
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Despite the sins and failings of Her ministers, as well as those of the laity, the Church cannot contradict Herself in matters of faith and morals.
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The Church’s teaching on homosexuality is firmly established in Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium. It is part of her constant teaching, part of the depositum fidei, and as such cannot be dissented from without committing the grave sin of heresy. This teaching on the immorality of homosexual activity is irrevocable.
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Therefore, Jordan's accusations leveled against the Church regarding closeted clergy and or openly homosexual clergy does not mean a history of "Catholic" homosexuality exists as in some DaVinci Code conspiracy theory. However, even if that was true, that fact would not alter anything with regards to Catholic teaching on homosexuality. The Church is a refuge for sinners, it's members subject to human frailty, but this doesn't mean that her moral teachings are false. Christ has promised "that the Church’s moral and theological teachings will always be sound".
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Therefore, the desire to rehabilitate the sin of homosexual behavior is not based on sound history or sound theology, and is merely a self-serving attempt to re-name or re-identify an evil as good, and to demand acceptance of a disordered disposition rather than attempting to combat it and seek the proper remedies to heal it.
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*Many thanks to Boniface at Unam Sanctam for his excellent outline refuting the challenges posed by gay-activists.

Corpus Christi



Pius XII on the transference of certain feast days...
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59. The Church is without question a living organism, and as an organism, in respect of the sacred liturgy also, she grows, matures, develops, adapts and accommodates herself to temporal needs and circumstances, provided only that the integrity of her doctrine be safeguarded. This notwithstanding, the temerity and daring of those who introduce novel liturgical practices, or call for the revival of obsolete rites out of harmony with prevailing laws and rubrics, deserve severe reproof. It has pained Us grievously to note, Venerable Brethren, that such innovations are actually being introduced, not merely in minor details but in matters of major importance as well. We instance, in point of fact, those who make use of the vernacular in the celebration of the august eucharistic sacrifice; those who transfer certain feast-days - which have been appointed and established after mature deliberation - to other dates; those, finally, who delete from the prayerbooks approved for public use the sacred texts of the Old Testament, deeming them little suited and inopportune for modern times. - Source

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Michelle no belle in Britain.

The worst dressed First Lady in United States history.
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She went to Westminster dressed like this... and the Brits refer to her as the First Lady of Fashion. (I expect they are just being polite.) - Source
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Obviously fashion is dead or this woman needs a stylist real bad... An' donch 'u be shoppin' by yurself girl!

Petite bourgeoisie and other stuff related to class.

Just some thoughts for a rainy day.
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Class distinctions - aren't they funny? I spent much of my high times trying to analyze it. Nearly every one I knew came from the lower middle class, later several people I knew came out of the upper middle class, and a very few friends were actually upper class. It was believed that such distinctions were more or less repudiated by the '60's and '70's avant garde revolution... I always knew differently. And today, as the recession/depression threatens every one's standard of living, the class and status boundaries resurrected in the 1980's just might be abolished by a more sober revolution which could possibly do away with the middle class all together.
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Kinda, sorta on this topic , I want to mention an email I received from a friend concerning something a mutual friend I once worked with, once told him. He had asked this guy if he found it uncomfortable working with homosexuals, the man replied, "When you're confident in your own sexuality, what is there to be uncomfortable about?" Typical response from my friend who is married with children, and was a former director for a major department store, as well as an accomplished artist.
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Many years ago now, my friend found himself in store design with a local major department store company shortly after leaving college. That was in the days when gay people were quietly out but didn't march in the streets demanding equal rights or the right to marry one another - indeed, lasting relationships were nearly unheard of in those days. Back then, gays had their bars and the baths, the parks and men's rooms, and sex clubs; if they were caught having sex in public, they were arrested - just like anyone else would be. Certainly there was harassment by the police - mostly because the conduct was against the law; of course straight people who didn't like queers did their share as well. (Gays in the military also suffered some pretty harsh treatment before dishonorable discharge.) If a victim of gay bashing wasn't too afraid to come out, he could go to the police and have the perpetrator arrested. That would have been rare however. The freedoms gays enjoy today were unthinkable in the 1960's. But I digress.
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My store friend, like myself, would have been accustomed to being around homosexuals - at least since art school in his case - with me it was much earlier - when one works in retail or the arts, one is going to be working with gay people. In fact department stores and the fashion industry were pretty much saturated with gay people, including the presidents of our local department store - at least in those days. Anyway, my friend was quite comfortable with it.
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As I said, since the 20th century the arts have been pretty much dominated by homosexuals, and in the 1960's their presence became particularly evident: In the film industry, theater, fashion, design, literature, fine art, and so on. The avant garde along with the growing affluence and subsequent permissiveness of society, tolerated and more or less encouraged such diversity. I think as the economy grew and media developed, the arts achieved an even greater cultural dominance, influencing and re-forming public morality to a great extent. Hence the growing tolerance and acceptance of the alternative life styles of the talents who created what we wore, lived in, watched on TV, read, hung on our walls, and so on. The designer, actor, dancer, director, artist, entertainer, writer, media mogul set the trends.
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Back in the '60's it was very cool and exciting to be working in such an avant garde milieu - it didn't matter if you were gay or straight - it was cool. needless to say, everything militated against the confines of organized religion - especially Christianity, Catholicism in particular. The Church opposed birth control and homosexuality and so on, while imposing too many restrictions which stifled creativity. Foreign cinema zeroed in on the Catholic Church, mocking its structure and the art world loved it - as we know it hasn't stopped. My point is in those days religion wasn't important, unless of course one was into Buddhism, something Middle Eastern, Oriental, or more popularly, the occult.
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In fact at the department store we worked for, many of the directors were deeply into the occult or Wicca - possibly even my friend. Outsiders thought it was nothing - just a trend or a novel diversion - indeed that is how those involved described their participation in it. (I assure you, it was more than that.) Like I said, in those days traditional religion was not important - if you heard that someone in the department actually did go to church, they were mocked. Gay people especially simply were not interested in religion - too many rules. And that is why I'm so surprised today that some gay activists make such a fuss about Church teaching on homosexuality - perhaps they just want to break the rules - which is like going back to having no religion again. Actually, I think it has more to do with the desire for "normality". The new normal isn't like the petite bourgeoisie normal everyone feared in the '60's, today the old cool or avant garde is normal - and gays now want to have their behavior not simply tolerated or accepted, but normalized.
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C'est le nouveau charme discret de la bourgeoisie!
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I suppose I could be mistaken however.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Shine a light, shine a light...

Philadelphia freedom.
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I love that Elton John song - but the only reason I quote it is because today's Gospel made me think of it - "let your light shine before men" - although Elton sang, "let your light shine through the eyes of those left behind". I know!
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But seriously. It is important for us not to hide our faith and to witness to the truth, even more so in these days when many would like the Church to shut up and stop tormenting the conscience of unbelievers - although we don't have to come off like evangelical bible-bangers when we do so.
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For those of us who once were mired in the very same sins we are now able to name, it is good to always remember we were just as hostile and defensive as those who now oppose our attempts to live as faithful Catholics. Having found the grace and courage to say yes to God, to love him to the point of contempt for self, we need to be on guard against that self-love which leads to self-righteousness as regards individuals who set themselves or their doctrines against our faith.
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Conversion is a great thing, but sometimes we can get a little smug about ourselves - as if we did it all on our own, or that we are better than the others now that we are holy. For instance: "Yeah, I'm normal now, I no longer have those issues." Or, "I've been sober for 15 years and so and so is still drunk." And,"I may not be fashionable but at least I'm not running around with my butt hanging out." Or, "I'd maybe hang out with you if you didn't walk like a girl." You know stuff like that. "Oooooooo! I wear a chapel veil and kneel for Communion you heathen in the jeans and t-shirt." Shut up now Terry.
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OK - so you get my point. Due to my lack of tact and decorum, I manage to insult just about every friend I have ever had, although I never intend to do that. (I'm just a big fat sinner - I have no excuse for myself.) However, when I write about what the Church teaches, including my faith and obedience to Church teaching, as well as my experience of the truth of Church teaching, I do so to counter the many false teachings that people promulgate and buy into. I'm not personally attacking or condemning anyone. Some will say - "Yes you are baby!" But I have to answer saying - "No I'm not, and my first name ain't baby - it's Terry - Mr. Nelson if you're nasty."
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I admit my posts can sound harsh at times, it's a major fault of mine that I react to insult and injury and comments which can be even more harsh and rude and dirty rotten than whatever I was trying to say. The hostile comments some people make call to mind the demon in the Exorcist when he reminded the priest of his personal sins and failures. In an exorcism the priest is not supposed to respond to such accusations - though my blog has nothing to do with an exorcism, I do and I don't respond. If and when I do, I usually do so in an effort to avoid giving greater scandal, but self-defense rarely goes well since it is most always a loaded cocktail, shaken - not stirred, by self-interest and pride.
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Anyway. Whatever. And all of that.
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We need to constantly be aware that conversion is about the convincing of sin - and this convincing is in effect the loving action of the Holy Spirit in his convincing power. Throughout his pontificate, JPII referenced this central message of salvation in his writings and allocutions. The Church and the individual Catholic, through the power of the Holy Spirit can now call evil by its name - and this is what we do - although none of us likes to be called a sinner, yet that is what we are; once convinced of that, we can no longer condemn others, despite the fact we can now call evil by its name. And I'm convinced that is why John Paul constantly returns our attention to the Garden - to the original sin - which he positions for us at the feet of Jesus Crucified, where enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the world is 'convinced concerning sin'...
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"St Augustine, with extraordinary perceptiveness, described the nature of sin as follows: 'self-love to the point of contempt for God'. It was self love which drove our first parents toward the initial rebellion and then gave rise to the spread of sin throughout human history. The book of Genesis speaks of this: 'You will be like God, knowing good and evil', in other words, you yourselves will decide what is good and evil.
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The only way to overcome this dimension of original sin is through a corresponding 'love for God to the point of contempt for self'. This brings us face to face with the mystery of man's redemption, and here the Holy Spirit is our guide. It is he who allows us to penetrate deeply into the 'mystery of the Cross' and at the same time to plumb the depths of evil perpetrated by man and suffered from the very beginning of history. That is what the expression 'convince the world about sin' means, and the purpose of this 'convincing' is not to condemn the world.
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If the Church, through the power of the Holy Spirit, can call evil by its name, it does so only in order to demonstrate that evil can be overcome if we open ourselves to 'love for God to the point of contempt for self. This is the fruit of Divine Mercy..." - John Paul II, Memory and Identity (Thanks to Magnificat.)
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This is what the Christian witnesses to. This is the light that has come into the Church in our age, and this is the light that cannot be hidden.
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[Incidentally, students of Theology of the Body, or any one of JPII's teachings should make it their aim to study his work within the context of the whole body of his writings. I think one of the reasons TOB is so often misunderstood is because students tend to isolate it from the rest of his teaching.]

Blessed Anna Maria Taigi

Wife, Mother, Mystic.
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Bl. Anna Maria is also one of the worst dressed incorruptibles in Church history.
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June 9th is her feast day. Through her revelations she also popularized the prospect of the Three Days Darkness. My friend David gets rather excited about that, although the Church really doesn't have much to say on the subject.
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Her website here.

Monday, June 08, 2009

woodstock 1969

The nuns are in this one.

The Who See Me Feel Me Woodstock 1969 (Director's cut)

Awesome!

Santana - Soul Sacrifice (Woodstock 1969)

40 years ago. Amazing. The documetary has been re-released on DVD.

Anti-Americanism.

Your jobs have been outsourced...
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I just answered an 800 number phone call from an Indian or Pakistani service rep asking:
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"Maieeeeee seek to Fahtee Nelson?"
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"I'm sorry, what did you say?"
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"Miae Ieeeeeeeeeee seek to Fahteee Nelson?"
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"I'm sorry, you have the wrong number."
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Something inaudible.
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Now who told these guys that I've gained weight?
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Poor Dottie Henkle.

What's the use?

The stat counter for my Profile Views stopped at 11000 a couple of months ago - Blogger has never fixed it. My whole reason for changing my profile photo so often was to have my view counter go up. I got a lot of hits because of Aaron.

Things that disappear without an income.

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Unemployment on the rise.

If they say death is the great equalizer I think joblessness is a close second. I'm hearing more and more stories of friends, and friends of friends who have lost their jobs. One couple with 6 children have been without income for over a year, and just recently they have lost their house.
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The Great Depression took a little time before people realized its scope too.

Eurabia? Another look.

"The Islamization of Europe is inevitable." - Attributed to Nicolas Sarkozy
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In an interview, Philippe de Villiers claims Sarkozy made the above statement to him in a conversation with the French president; "I had an in depth discussion with him at Elysée at the end of last year. He said to me: "You have intuition, I have the figures. And your intuition is confirmed by my figures. The Islamization of Europe is inevitable." (source) Additionally, the president purportedly told Villiers; "we will see the first transformations of churches into mosques in the coming three years." Although the complete Islamization of Europe, if and when it happens, would take a couple of decades. Even so, such predictions remind me of the Fatima prophecy, "Many nations will be annihilated."
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In the interview Villiers stated the reason for his concerns over this issue: "Most politicians have a comforting ignorance of what Islam is and propose transforming Europe into a supermarket of competing religions. Unaware that Islam is not only a religion since, by melding the temporal and the spiritual, it imposes a law. But behind this comforting ignorance of politicians, there are those who know. (...) The reality is that we are headed for a criss-cross (chassé-croisé) with, on one side, Europe and its en masse abortions, its promotion of gay marriage, and on the other, immigration en masse (...)
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Commenting on the Villiers interview, another writer observed: "It's all the more ironic, then, that gay rights advocates make such an issue of gay marriage while remaining indifferent to the Islamic jihad, or, if they care about the jihad, are still willing to throw overboard allies who may not be in lockstep with their social agenda -- that the Islamic jihadists, once in power, will treat gays far more harshly than Christian conservatives ever dreamed of doing doesn't seem to enter into their calculations." (source)
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Sharia Law and gay pride.
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Homosexuality is traditionally deemed forbidden by Islamic law. The Qur'an, the central text of Islam believed by Muslims to be the revelation of God, is explicit in its condemnation of homosexuality. The Qur'an proclaims Islam as the "religion of nature," and sanctifies and encourages sexual intercourse within marriages only.
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The Hadith, which are oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of Muhammad and regarded as important tools for determining the Muslim way of life by all traditional schools of jurisprudence, also contain numerous statements condemning homosexuality.
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Based on the principles of the Qur'an and the Hadith, several eminent scholars of Islam, such as Imam Malik, Imam Shafi, Ahm ad and Ishaaq have ruled that the person guilty of homosexuality should be stoned regardless of his married or unmarried nature. (source)
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Few people in positions of power are willing to admit that radical Islam's ideology has many parallels with Hitler's National Socialist Party policies. Likewise we know the president of Iran, Ahmadinejad fuels anti-Israeli propaganda by claiming there was no holocaust - this as he threatens to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, while insisting that in Iran there are no homosexuals - alive to tell perhaps.
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It strikes me as hugely ironic that our President, who suddenly now proud of his Muslim roots, while claiming that the United States is the largest Islamic country in the world, and kisses the hand of the Saudi king whose country is not alone in the Middle East with laws calling for the death penalty for homosexuals, declares June LGBT Month in the United States. Are certain groups being used for political gain? It has happened before.
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All things considered, I find it absolutely amazing how gay activists can accuse the Roman Catholic Church as being hateful. How screwed up is that?

The creepy thing about the occult.

You touch pitch and it clings to you...
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My friends Larry, Bob, Mary Kay, Mary Ann, Donna, Linda and me were playing with the Ouija board one September night in Larry's basement back when we were in 9th grade. We so freaked ourselves out with a story Larry told about his cousins who sought information on Anne Frank - only to be terrorized with sighs, shrieks and screams from the Nazi gas chambers.
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As my turn came round to ask the board a question, I inquired with all sincerity, "When will I die?" To my astonishment the planchette moved rapidly to the numbers 6 and 7. All of us concluded it meant I would die either in 1967 - 4 long years in the future - or when I reached the chronological age of 67.
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New Years eve 1967 I sat up reading Rosemary's Baby, and at the stroke of midnight I realized I wasn't dead, hence I concluded that I would live until the age of 67. I know! Compare that conclusion with my born again idea that the end of the world would happen before I was 30.
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Yeah. So much for that.Check Spelling
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But every June 7...
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So Sunday was June 7 - 6/7 - and I'm not dead yet. Once again it occurred to me that occult crap clings to us and haunts us no matter how many deliverance prayers have been prayed over us, or how many confessions we've made, or how much exorcism salt we eat - it is always there to haunt our lack of faith - or at least the devil is there to tempt us and accuse us of our lack of faith. (And don't over-react here, I do not really believe the Ouija board knew anything - but the diabolic residue of the experience may still cling to me, or follow me, as it were.)
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In reality - and the sad thing is - someplace within our superstitious mind, we can let ourselves be deluded by the father of lies - the devil - in actually thinking he knows anything at all concerning our salvation. He doesn't. And neither do we. And neither do Ouija boards or Tarot cards or anything else. The devil lies - and he suits his lies to our concupiscence and fears and superstitions and weakness.
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So "snap out of it" - as Cher said in Moonstruck - we need to "lay aside every encumbrance of sin which clings to us and persevere in the race which lies ahead; let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus who inspires and perfects our faith..." - Hebrews 12: 1-4

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Traffic - Dear Mr. Fantasy

Can't you just smell the patchouli...

I Can't Tell You Why - Eagles

My favorite song ever from this group!

Teaching kids about sex.

I don't know, what do you think?
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In Britain, as in the States, sex education in the schools is a very controversial subject - especially if one happens to be a practicing Catholic with traditional morals. Catholic schools, sans school sisters, no longer command the unlimited confidence parents who enroll their children in most of these institutions once had. Not all are down the tubes, although attempts are often made even in the good schools to broaden curriculum to include stuff primary school children should not be exposed to in their formative years. As for public schools there seems to be no hope whatsoever.
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Nevertheless, I'm convinced that sex education should be conducted by parents and always age appropriate. Although as we know, many parents lacking sound moral teaching themselves, often living in irregular situations, are more or less unfit to train their kids. (Ouch!) Unfortunately their kid's education will be corrupted either by the immorality the parents example, sexualized culture, or inappropriate sex-ed in schools - which in some cases amounts to a form of indoctrination, as well as an incentive for kids to explore and experiment sexually. At least within a parochial system, faithful, stable Catholic parents, clergy, and educators have a better chance of coming together in order to arrive at a decision on what is appropriate sex education in the schools - although I say stay out of the primary schools.
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Fr. Blake of St. Mary Magdalen, Brighton, UK commenting on our sex-saturated society and the need to protect children posted the following opinion: "Rather than burying their heads in the sand Catholic parents and Catholic schools really do need to take sex education seriously. If it is not done by parents and schools, it will done by our society and our children's peers, and done very badly, with disastrous results." (Link) His statement raised the concerns of a few of his readers which developed into quite a discussion, demonstrating how sensitive a topic this has become in our new age of the theology of the body openness.
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My friend Jackie Parkes - Catholic Mother of 10 no less, had much to say in response, and said it very well I might add. Mrs. Parkes is no prude - and she knows what she is talking about when it comes to this topic. She is gifted with a candor and insight reminiscent of St. Catherine of Genoa when it comes to defending these issues. I have the greatest respect and admiration for both Fr. Blake and Mrs. Parkes - but I have to side with Jackie on this one.
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Primary school sex education outside the home strikes me as inappropriate. At best, if the school believes it is warranted, it would be better for the teachers to send literature or suggestions to parents - for their discernment, leaving it up to the parents to decide whether or not their children are prepared for the information or not - and then leave it up to the parents to educate their children appropriately, after all it is their responsibility, not the schools.
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When I was in 6th grade Sr. Lillian took it upon herself to instruct our co-ed class about sex. My friends and I got pretty turned on by it all and decided to do our own 'research'. My parents found some of my notes and pamphlets Sister gave us and they imagined I was doing all of this study on my own, and it hit the fan. When they realized Sister was teaching us about sex they said it must be okay and never said another word.
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Several things were wrong with that experience. First of all, my parents did not know Sr. Lillian was going to conduct a sex-ed class - they had never been informed - they also abdicated their responsibility as parents leaving the matter up to Sister. Secondly, My parents did not recognize that my eagerness to learn about it was in large part due to the fact I had already been sexually abused. Third, my parent's over reaction contributed to the idea that sex was dirty, which canceled out all that they had taught me before that, while confirming for me they were living in sin. (My mother was divorced and remarried to my dad outside the Church.) Fourth, if Sister was attempting to educate us about sex with the hopes we wouldn't have to learn about it on the street, or experiment with sex, and all the rest of the stuff people fear will happen to kids if they are not properly educated in sex, she was dead wrong. Sr. Lillian just got us off to an early start. We may have learned about the good sex from her, but we went for the bad sex anyway.

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There are no easy answers, but exposing kids to sex before they are ready is definitely not the solution.

Deus caritas est.

Trinity Sunday
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Saturday evening Father mentioned in his homily on the Trinity: "When Christ gives you his love he gives you God, for the Holy Spirit is the Love between the Father and the Son..." At least I think that is how he stated it, but I had to ask him to repeat it for me after Mass; even so I still can't be sure of his exact words except for this final elaboration, "because God is love" - Deus caritas est.
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It was an excellent homily.
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Leaving church, I sat in the car reflecting upon the gift of love, the gift of God and many of the saints who had been captivated by the love of God: Francis of Assisi, who went about in ecstasy lamenting, "love is not loved". Catherine of Genoa who had experienced the love of God so ardently at the moment of her interior conversion she was unable to finish her confession. And then of course, Teresa Margaret Redi, who went into ecstasy as she intoned "Deus caritas est" at choir.
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One Sunday after Pentecost, on the 28th of June, 1767, when Sister Teresa Margaret was officiating in choir, she read out the little chapter at Terce: “Deus caritas est.” She had heard these words repeatedly, Sunday after Sunday, for the past three years, but now it seemed as though she understood them for the first time - or rather, her understanding of them was raised to an entirely different plane.
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The verse struck her with the force of a revelation: “God is love; he who dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.” This dwelling had been the goal of all her striving, seeking as she did to imitate the interior life and hidden operations of Christ. From that day onwards the necessity of proving her love by deeds became so compelling a force that it was obvious to her sisters that some special grace had been given her. “Nobody comes to the Father except through Jesus,” she said. “To come to God who is everything and consequently all good, no fatigue must seem to us too great; we must not be put off either by the difficulties we meet on the way, but accept bitterness and welcome every kind of cross with eagerness. By these means, which are precisely those of Jesus Christ, it is not difficult to come to the true God, to live in charity, to walk in love.”
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Despite her customary reticence and assiduity in concealing any graces or spiritual favors, the fact that something out of the ordinary had taken place on that Sunday morning was apparent to all. For days the young nun seemed quite out of herself, and the sudden illumination that the words had sent flooding into her soul is difficult to explain, because of the seeming triviality of the incident and her own habitual silence about such things. It marked the beginning of a new stage in her spiritual life, as Father Ildefonse was quick to observe. From this time, he noticed that the quiet, self-possessed and reserved sister appeared to withdraw even more into herself, becoming engrossed in a silent, determined, and conscious awareness of the presence within her, and her endeavors to attain to perfect union with Him. However, this withdrawal was a purely spiritual matter, and there was no suggestion of cutting herself adrift from the community, for she continued to give herself wholeheartedly to all, in her services as infirmarian, in companionship and sympathy at recreation, and in never avoiding her share of work on the grounds of seeking more solitude.
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Speaking to Father Ildefonse one day, she tried to express to him something of the significance those words God is love now held for her, but she became almost incoherent in her emotion. “Just as the soul in the state of grace (which is charity) is in God, God is in her. Just as the soul lives the life of God, so does God in a certain way live IN her. And so it is that between them there is but a single life, a single love ... God alone! The difference is that God has all by essence, whereas the creature has it only by participation and grace.” And, adds Father Ildefonse, “Note that these words came from a simple child who had never studied and knew no theology apart from what her instinct taught her.” - Source
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Who can separate us from the Love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus! And so it is that between them there is but a single life, a single love ... The Love between the Father and the Son... The Holy Spirit.